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Boom Southland pacer U May Cullect continued on his winning way at Addington last night. He had to draw on all his reserves but he beat Classie Brigade by a nose. However after the win, the rumour mill began churning which owner Tom Kilkelly found disappointing. “The word round Christchurch is that the horse has broken down. I had a couple of phone calls this morning asking what had gone wrong with him. We don’t have any issues. Kirstin put him on the truck this morning and wrapped his legs and said there was no sign of anything. We’ll get him scanned on Monday just to make sure,” he said.   In last night’s PGG Wrightson Standardbred Uncut Gems Classic driver Kirstin Barclay took U May Cullect to the front early before handing up to Classie Brigade and driver John Dunn. From there the pace was on. “They went down the back in 27. I think Dunn’s idea was to run us off our feet so that we couldn’t beat him.” Classie Brigade, U May Cullect, Triple Eight and Smokin By gapped themselves from the rest of the field and coming down the straight it became a battle of two mighty willing horses with U May Cullect beating Classie Brigade by a nose. “I was a wee bit concerned when he took the passing lane. He sprinted for a wee bit then he lost his way but Kirstin felt he just got lost because he’s never taken the passing lane. He’s always either lead or come round them. It was a bit tense in that he didn’t win by lengths like he normally does but he was racing against Cup horses.” Kilkelly wasn’t even sure whether it was a win or not. “Everyone round me reckoned he’d won but I didn’t know – I thought it was pretty close. There was only a nose in it. I was talking to Graham Court this morning and he said that’s the sign of a real good horse. They just dig in and have got that wee bit extra.” The winning time was 3-08.7 on a showery night, on an easy track. The New Zealand record for 2600 metre mobile of 3-05.5 is held by Sheriff. The run of Classie Brigade was full of merit and was only his third race back since a nine month injury break. Kilkelly says U May Cullect pulled up well and that now’s the right time for a break. “He’s a bit of a dumbo. I went down to the barn afterwards and washed him down and he was just standing there like he normally does. He’s definitely going to get a nice month in the paddock now.” Next on the cards will be the Hannon Memorial at Oamaru in September. “If we’re competitive we’ll carry on to the Cup.” Despite the horse’s rapid rise through the grades Kilkelly says there have never been any offers to buy him. “There’s never been any money put up. We’ve made it very very clear that he’s not for sale. I don’t care what the offers are. I’ve spend my life waiting for a good horse and this is it.” He says without doubt U May Cullect’s win at Addington last night was a career highlight, surpassing Shard Ark’s win in the 2009 Yearling Sales Series Final. “Shard Ark hadn’t done much until that race whereas the journey with this fella has been unbelievable.” Kilkelly says the horse’s notoriety has spread far beyond Southland. “I was sitting in the stand last night and there was a guy sitting just along from me and he said to me after the race ‘I was cheering louder than you were and I’ve flown down from Auckland just to watch this horse’. It was just an unbelievable feeling. Everyone at Addington congratulating us. Money can’t buy that.”   Bruce Stewart

“It was great to see Southland getting some of the chocolates for once. It was also good seeing U May Cullect getting up to get the job done,” said Southland trainer Steve Baucke after his mare I’mallaboutthebase won the $40,000 Listed Uncut Gems Mares Classic at Addington last night. From gate six driver Tim Williams positioned the mare three back on the running line with Flying Milly Mac setting the pace. The order remained the same until the top of the straight when I’mallaboutthebase was presented with the passing lane and she came through nicely to nail Flying Milly Mac by a length with Naiya Franco another length and a quarter back in third. The winning time was 3-12.7. “It worked out well. Her sister (Delight My Soul) was deadly three back on the fence. She’s (I’mallaboutthebase) proving to be just as deadly. Tim was stoked and it was just the perfect trip for her really.” The win was I’mallaboutthebase’s fourth in thirty six starts over three seasons. She has now won $64,898. I’mallaboutthebase is by underrated sire Shadow Play out of the In The Pocket mare Soleil D’or and was bred by Steve and his wife Carol. “When she was born she had a bit of a rear end on her. I rang Graeme Henley (from Alabar Stud) and told him I was going to call her I’mallaboutthebase. He said ‘are you sure’, and I said I am.” The Bauckes no longer own Soleil D’or. After I’mallaboutthebase was born they sold her to Aucklander Kevin Haycock who has an Auckland Reactor colt out of her. Soleil D’Or’s fifth foal Delight My Soul won seven races for the Bauckes. She was retired from racing earlier this year after being served by Sweet Lou. It was the first time Baucke has won a race at Addington. Four different drivers have now won on the Shadow Play mare; Craig Ferguson, Matthew Williamson, Blair Orange and now Tim Williams. It was the mare’s first black type win. She previously ran second behind Dizzy Miss Lizzy in the 2017 Group Three Caduceus Club Of Southland Fillies Mobile Pace. “We’ll give her a bit of a holiday now and we’ll line up again next season. There has been a bit of interest (buyers) in her but we’ve always wanted to keep her.”   Bruce Stewart

The plan to take The Paua Diver to the front by trainer driver Allan Beck worked perfectly at Ascot Park today when the four year old cleared maiden ranks at his fifth harness racing start. The Live Or Die gelding showed promise early when he ran third behind the talented Zinny Mac at Winton in mid December, pacing the 2400 metres in 2-56.2. “After that first run he got himself a bit worked up. Before that he was a perfect natured horse. He’s been a bit disappointing in a couple of his runs,” said Beck who part owns the gelding with breeders Ben and Karen Calder. From Gate Six Beck used the horse’s natural early speed and took The Paua Diver to the lead. From that point he ran good solid even quarters before Flaming Jim made a lightening quick move to challenge inside the last 800 metres. Duty Bound, driven by Robin Swain, which had trailed The Paua Diver for most of the way pulled out and forced Flaming Jim three wide before taking the lead. “They showed a bit too much speed for me so I just let them go in the finish. Robin’s one was going alright.” Once Duty Bound had taken The Paua Diver to the passing lane Beck pushed the go button again and the gelding showed he was too good for his rivals, beating Duke Of Dundee by two lengths with Flaming Jim another length back in third. “He’s like his sister (Bettor Enforce). You just have to let them go. The harder you go the more they seem to enjoy it.” Coming back to the birdcage                                  - Photo Bruce Stewart Beck trained The Paua Divers dam Their Excuse which won her first race but was unplaced in three further starts. The win with The Paua Diver was one of two for Beck today. He also drove the Brian Nicol trained Cast A Shadow to win the Sheet Metalcraft Mobile Pace.   Bruce Stewart

Free-legged pacer Take A Bet capped off a successful stay in Southland when she won the $12,000 Ryal Bush Transport Limited Nuggets Final at Ascot Park today. The Mach Three filly has won $21,200 in the space of five weeks for Canterbury harness racing trainer Geoff Dunn whilst down here, and she’s become the first horse to win both a Ladyship and Nugget final. Punters had some anxious moments though after Take A Bet which was the favourite, galloped in the score up. Starter Ben Ward declared a false start but Take A Bet galloped round to the start point before Williams was able to pull her up. “It’s uncharacteristic for her. I think Brett (caretaker trainer Brett Gray) must have let the hopples out on her during the week (laugh). She just needs to learn how to be a racehorse,” said Williams who decided to stand in Gate Two for the re-start. When the field left for the second time the mare paced away perfectly and was taken straight to the lead where she stayed, withstanding a late charge up the passing lane by American Mac. She won by three quarters of a length. “She’s getting better each time. The trips down here have been the making of her. She’s starting to develop a bit of speed now. Brett and the team have done a good job in looking after her and making sure she’s been ready to go.”  Take a Bet is raced by William’s parents Brent and Suzanne along with Gary and Keri Woodham who were all on-course today. Brent Williams, Gary Woodham, Suzanne Williams and Keri Woodham - Photo Bruce Stewart She’s out of the six win Bettor’s Delight mare Kabet which started favourite in the 2013 Southland Oaks Finals - then driven by Tim. As a broodmare Kabet has also left Above N Beyond which ran fifth in the Two Year Emerald in the recently held Harness Jewels at Addington. Kabet’s third dam is the 1994-1995 Broodmare of the Year Sakuntala which left Brad Adios the 1977-1978 Three Year Old Pacer of the Year in Australia and Tuapeka Star who was the winner of twenty two races and the dam of New Zealand Cup winner Iraklis. Meanwhile Robbie Royale capped off a consistent season by winning The Williamson Racing Stables Handicap Trot. The five year gelding trained by Brett Gray has won four races this season from twenty three starts and has banked $27,745. for his connections.    Bruce Stewart

Three Southland Harness Jewels runners shared their final hit out in the same race at Ascot Park today with Robyns Playboy beating Rockabilly Blues and Mighty Flying Art finishing fourth. Robyns Playboy was scratched at Gore last Saturday after he was kicked on the leg by stablemate Hans Ideal the Tuesday before the races. Gore was supposed to have been his last run before the Jewels. “If he’d run at Gore I wouldn’t have come here. Very happy with the run and he showed a bit of ticker. He didn’t blow and he surprises you with how fit he is when you think he needs the run,” said trainer Ross Wilson. In today’s Cruickshank Pryde Mobile Pace over 2200 metres driver Craig Ferguson slotted Robyns Playboy into the one one before he took him to the front with a lap to run. He held on to beat Rockabilly Blues by half a length, running the journey in 2-42.5 with Nota Bene Denario nabbing Mighty Flying Art by a nose for third. Winning smile                            - Photo Bruce Stewart  Consequently it’s straight into the Jewels on Saturday at Addington for him where he’s drawn two on the front row. “In the perfect world he’d hop in behind Heisenburg (drawn one) and sit two or three back on the fence all the way. This is going to be a different kettle of fish for him. They’re going to go a 1-53 mile rate which he’s never done before.” Mighty Flying Art’s trainer Murray Brown wasn’t overly happy with his charge’s performance. “Not really. He was travelling real good and then he dropped the bit. When that other horse (Robyns Playboy) went up to take the lead he wanted to go. Brent took a hold of him and he dropped the bit and let him go. He’s done it before. He went in a bit fresh so we’re hoping he won’t do it next start,” Brown said.   Meanwhile Winton mare Rockabilly Blues received a kick by Clerk of the Course horse Vi Et Animo when she was returning to the birdcage. Rockabilly Blues has a dislike of the on-course speakers and she swung round when coming down the lane leading into the birdcage. Clerk of the Course Sally McKay came up to assist and her horse kicked Rockabilly Blues just above the knee, causing it to bleed. The mare’s leg will be monitored over the next few days and it’s hoped she can take her place in the Four Year Old Diamond this Saturday at Addington. Another Jewels runner Wee Man Trouble capped off his preparation with a win at Ascot Park today. The four year old added to his 20 metre handicap when he broke with 2300 metres to run. He regained his gait and stormed home down the middle of the track to win easily by three and a quarter lengths for driver Blair Orange. Wee Man Trouble winning for Blair Orange                - Photo Bruce Stewart. Other winners on the day included Sounds Bettor for Geoff and Jude Knight, Melton Mafia for trainers Gordon and Colin Lee, Sherry Baby for junior driver Kerryn Tomlinson, No More Change for Jamie Campbell and trainer Craig Ferguson and Bettor Rock Again for Ray and Tracee Faithful.   Bruce Stewart

“She’s a lovely wee mare who seems to go good on the wet tracks,” said trainer Brett Gray after Born To Boogie won her fifth race at Gore today. The four year old was driven by the country’s leading junior John Morrison who was filling in for a suspended Brent Barclay. Morrison took the Rock N Roll Heaven mare to the front with 2000 metres to run before handing up to Santannas Rocket. Just before the top of the straight Morrison hooked Born To Boogie off the back of Santannas Rocket and she came down the middle of the track to beat him by a length and a quarter with Delightful Deal another length and a quarter back in third. Gray says Born To Boogie’s future may now be in the North Island. The Ryal Bush trainer is slowly getting back to full mobility after Full Noise kicked him in the leg after winning at Winton last Saturday. He says he hasn’t been able to drive fast work for most of the week but is now back in the cart. Full Noise, which ran third today behind Nottingham K Two, will have to wait until tomorrow’s Oamaru meeting before his place at the Harness Jewels is confirmed. Gray said he wasn’t too disappointed with the three year old’s performance today. “It was one of those races. In the past he hasn’t gone so well on the wet tracks. He just got a wee way back today and the wet track just takes the speed out of him.” It wasn’t the fairytale ending for Santanna Rocket’s Southland career. He’s heading to Australia on a 50/50 deal with Robert Morris. The Morris stable have had success with another Santanna Blue Chip gelding James Dean, winning three races with him since December. Meanwhile Robyns Playboy which had to be scratched from the race, is on a course of antibiotics after stablemate Hans Ideal kicked him after work during the week. Stable spokesperson Chris Wilson said it’s hoped that Robyns Playboy will take his place in the Harness Jewels in a fortnight. He said the stable hope to get another run into him before the Jewels after he broke at Winton last Saturday. That misdemeanour was caused by a cut to the mouth. Wilson says Robyns Playboy’s chances of making the Jewels will be known in the next few days. The stable gained some consolation when Swift Robyn won her maiden race and Hans Ideal ran second later in the programme.   Bruce Stewart

Two years ago Fiery Ferret’s harness racing career looked to be over but the Mister Big gelding had other ideas. “We were going to retire him because he had quite sore hocks. The owner Kelvin Reed just had so many other horses. I asked him if I could I have him for my granddaughter as a riding horse and he said that was fine. I put him in the paddock and he hated it so he was back on the jogging frame two weeks later. Kelvin and I went fifty fifty in the horse. He’s won five more races since then,” said co-trainer Jude Knight who drives the gelding in all of his work. Jude trains in partnership with husband Geoff and she says the horse seems to be free of any leg problems. “His legs are better than they’ve ever been. He had weak joints as a two year old. He’s out now for a few months and will be back for the new season.” Knight says there was some confidence in the stable today, as the horse had good wet track form and his warm up indicated to her that he was ready to perform.  “When he was jigging around in the warm up and wouldn’t pace I got confident. When he does that at home it means he wants to get on with the job. Once we got to the lead I was pretty confident.” Driver John Morrison took the six year old straight to the lead and after a few cheap sectionals he went down to the line, beating Groomsman, which trailed him for most to the journey by two and three quarter lengths. “My sister and I booked a trip to Fiji next month. I said to Geoff that I feel so guilty about doing the trip on my own. Now I can pay for it and don’t feel guilty anymore (laugh).” It’s been a great month for Fiery Ferret’s dam Touch Of Rose with three of her progeny winning. The Ideal Touch (American Ideal) won at Invercargill while her older sister Ferritt’s Sister (Bettor’s Delight) won fresh up at Alexandra Park for her new trainer Nicky Chilcott. The mare’s next two foals are colts. One by Art Major, which is a yearling and the other is by He’s Watching.   Meanwhile Nottingham K Two won his second race this season on his home track. Both wins have been in the hands of Southland’s leading junior driver Ellie Barron. Trainer George Orr and Ellie Barron enjoy the win with Nottingham K Two - Photo Bruce Stewart By Bruce Stewart

Such is the ease in which star Southland pacer U May Cullect is winning, today driver and co-trainer Kirstin Barclay had to remind the five year old that getting to the line first is what good pacers do. “I had to give him a wee slap today. He’s just got into the habit of pulling up because there’s no competition. He’s actually going to be better coming off their backs. But really happy as that was a nice step up in grade,” she said after the gelding scored another emphatic victory at Winton today. From barrier three Barclay took the Tom Kilkelly owned gelding straight to the top and he easily won the 1609 metre trip by three lengths from stablemate Paddyproudfoot.  “Paddy went super. I was rapt with a wee man.” The winning time was 1-53.1. “There was a race for him at Addington but we decided to stay down here and support the local clubs at the end of the season because people are coming out to see him.” U May Cullect winning today Although in front again today, Barclay says she’d like to educate U May Cullect to race in the field. “If we can get a preferential race he should get a draw and take a sit. The first time in that higher grade that’s what I’d like to do to give him confidence.” So what’s next? “No plans. We’ll take him week by week. He still needs a spell somewhere along the line.” U May Cullect returning after winning - Photo Bruce Stewart This was the gelding’s fifth start and fifth win and I can’t remember the last Southland trained pacer to win their first five starts. Microscopic, after running fourth on debut won his next six races while Honkin Vision ran second on debut then won four straight. Later in the day today the Mitchell Kerr trained Zinny Mac driven by Nathan Williamson broke the track record for three year old colts and geldings. His time of 2-54.3 was 0.1 of a second better than the previous record broken in December by Robyns Playboy. The win was one of two for Kerr who trained Justasec to win the last race of the day. The win was also one of three for Southland’s leading reinsman Nathan Williamson. Meanwhile Jonny Cox did the right thing for his family by winning the Cox Family Celebration Trot on the Amber Hoffman trained Imran Khan. The Pegasus Spur six year old won by an impressive five lengths and Cox threw in a victory salute well before the winning post for good measure. Back to the birdcage - Photo Bruce Stewart Imran Khan is part-owned by Trackside presenter Mark McNamara and Matt Cross, jockey Samantha Wynn and ODT Journalist Jonny Turner.   Bruce Stewart

Wildwest had tongues wagging at Central Southland Raceway today when he impressively won on debut by twelve and a half lengths. “He’s always been a nice horse. We’ve always looked after him. He’s lost a bit of condition on the way through so we’ve put him aside then brought him back. He’s still a bit untapped,” says driver Brent Barclay. The Raging Bull three year old is trained by Barclay’s partner Lauren Pearson at Winton and was sent out hot favourite on the back of some impressive workouts and trials form. With the weight of money on the horse Barclay had no option but to take the horse to the front once he was safely underway from the stand. “I was a little bit worried at the start when he got a bit jumpy but he stepped real nice. He’s got a lot of speed and I would have liked to have seen him in behind today but in that type of field you have to drive him like the best horse.” His time was 3-03.6. The track record for three year old colts and gelding is 3-01.3 which was recorded by Shorty’s Chance in 2009. “It just felt like 3-10 not 3-03 but he’s very deceptive.” Wildwest winning his first start today The three year old has been patiently handled and local trainer Ian Jamieson managed his first two preparations. “He used to buck a bit early on but he’s been a real gentleman lately.” Wildwest is owned by Kevin Strong who has bred and raced many horses over the years. “He’s had so much bad luck so that’s why we’ve looked after him. It’s just great for Kev.” Trainer Lauren Pearson, Wildwest, Kevin Strong and driver Brent Barclay - Photo Bruce Stewart Barclay says the horse has been attracting the attention of buyers prior to his debut today. “We’ve had a lot of interest in him but we’ll discuss that with Kev.” And as for his future racing programme? “Probably Invercargill. He wouldn’t be going to Gore. I got suspended. There would have been plenty lining up to drive him there (laugh).” Pearson trained Wildwest’s dam Bay Jet which was by Jereme’s Jet. Bay Jet ran third and first at workouts but never qualified. Wildwest is her first foal. Wildwest in by the Christian Cullen stallion Raging Bull which won five of his ten starts for Canterbury trainer Cran Dalgety.    Bruce Stewart

After he won on Diamonds Day a week ago it was expected that star pacer U May Cullect would be turned out for a month. But that’s now not the case. “When Tank went to feed him the next day he was going nuts around the paddock so he just thought we’d be better to tick away with him quietly and look at races every two to three weeks. We always do precautionary scans on him. We gave him a scan last week and the leg is perfect. We’ve got no real plans. We’ll go to Winton and I’m not sure what will happen after that,” said co-trainer Kirstin Barclay. He’s been the big find of the Southern harness racing season and he's created talk right across the national harness scene when winning all of his four starts impressively. “We knew he was a nice horse but the way he’s stepped up in every race has been amazing. Everything he does he does so easily. To be fair he hasn’t stepped up against quality yet but the times he’s run, especially his 1-52 mile at Winton untouched, shows he’s more than capable of going a bit quicker.” Barclay says the horse has continued to get better and better and has taken everything in his stride. “The big thing is that he can be keen off the gate but as soon as he’s crossed over or you ask him to come back to you after you’ve come out of the gate he just relaxes. At Addington he was keen, took a trial and just went to sleep. It was the same at Winton. He’s a pretty smart cookie and nothing really worries him.”   Bruce Stewart

Chuckles continued his great run for owner Tom Kilkelly and trainers Kirstin Barclay and Tank Ellis when he won the second to last Nuggets Final at Ascot Park today (Saturday). And it was fitting that the race was sponsored by Kilkelly’s business Regent Car Court. It was only the Grinfromeartoear gelding’s third start after he qualified at Wyndham in November last year. “He qualified really nice but had a wind problem so he had to go away and have an operation. He’s come a long way in a short time,” said Barclay. The three year old is out of the Badlands Hanover mare Uroc On and is named after master horseman Mark Purdon. “The horse’s stable name is Mark. Tom and Julie used to sit and watch Mark on Trackside interviews and he always had a wee chuckle so that’s how he got his name.” From Gate Six Barclay worked Chuckles to the front before handing up to stablemate Hampton and then Tulsa Jaccka. When Love The Blues became the fourth leader Chuckles was posted four back on the inside. With 800 metres to run Jaffie J started to move up. Barclay gave Chuckles a flick with the reins and he got onto that runners back. With 500 metres to go she got Chuckles into top gear and he sprinted hard three wide. “I knew Wayne’s one (Tulsa Jaccka) had a good turn of foot so I wanted to get a bit of a break on it before it got to the lane.” Chuckles sustained a good sprint in the run home beating Tulsa Jaccka by three quarters of a length with the winner’s stablemate Hampton making ground late for third another three quarters and a length away. Chuckles and Kirstin Barclay beating Nathan Williamson and Tulsa Jaccka - Photo Bruce Stewart Barclay noted the gelding was keen today and that was noticeable when he was trailing Hampton early in the event. “He just wasn’t himself today. The track was a wee bit looser, he was fresh, looking at everything and buggering around a little bit. He knuckled down when it was time to do the job.” It was another great drive by Barclay who’s in an excellent vein of form at the moment, undoubtedly buoyed by the thrill of driving U May Cullect. The win was one of two on today’s card for Barclay. In the last two weeks she’s won five races. Her other win today was on the Ricky Gutsell trained Maahes which won the Southland Express Mobile Pace at odds of 34-1. Maahes winning at Ascot Park - Photo Bruce Stewart   Bruce Stewart

It was one of those stellar days that don’t come along very often. Harness racing trainers Kirstin Barclay and Tank Ellis geared up four winners today at Ascot Park for Southland’s Diamonds Day - the premier race day of the season. The ‘quaddie’ of wins was spearheaded by the stable’s glamour pacer, the unbeaten U May Cullect which stole the show. The partnership which is only in its first season, has recorded two wins in a day twice before, but this was a milestone on another level. Today Barclay wasn’t sure if she’d let U May Cullect press forward from the outside of the front line, stating that the horse would make up its own mind and she would just be the passenger. The horse was keen and Barclay let him roll forward from the outside of the gate. From that point Barclay was in for the ride, and the five year old cruised down to the line for another emphatic win, beating My Georgie Boy by six and a half-lengths running the 2200 metre mobile in an impressive 2-41.9. It’s likely this will be the gelding’s last start for the season as the connections have some bigger plans for him next season. “Kirstin and Tank are making a plan and they’re talking about not racing him again because we’re hoping to get to the Cup. If we turn him out now he can come back for the likes of the Hannon and he’ll be off the front,” said owner Tom Kilkelly. U May Cullect is eligible for a Super Nuggets Final in a weeks’ time but he’s unlikely to front. “I’ve got a nice paddock for him locked up. Kirstin will look after him. I find you don’t want to treat them with kid gloves because that’s when things can go wrong. I don’t want him wrapped up in cotton wool.” Kilkelly has raced some nice horses over the years including Guns N Roses and Shard Ark but he says U May Cullect is another level. He says he’s starting to feel the pressure that goes with owning a good horse which is unbeaten. “Today I did get nervous. I don’t normally, but today in the last few minutes before the race I did because everyone was talking him up and he’s got a lot to live up to now.” He said the horse continues to get better. “They worked him on Wednesday and Kirstin said he worked better than before he went to Christchurch. Tank said his resting heart rate after the run was down to 40. The best I had a horse down to when I was training was 60 to 65 –they don’t come back to 40. So that just shows you the size of the heart. He’s special.” On his return to the birdcage U May Cullect received applause from the Southern Harness fans who generally reserve it for the very best. Kilkelly says although his name is in the race book as the owner he would like to think the province will also share in the success U May Cullect is having. “We could have taken him further north but he’s a Southland horse. He’s not mine he’s ours. I said to Mick Guerin (Northern Journalist and Trackside Presenter) three things. He’s not for sale, he’s staying on the beach with Kirstin and Tank and Kirstin drives him. I said to him there’s a tar sealed road between Invercargill and Christchurch now.” U May Cullect - Bruce Stewart Photo The prefect day was capped for Kilkelly when Chuckles won the last race. It was a very good aggressive drive by Barclay. From barrier five she speared the Grinfromeartoear gelding to the top. She handed the lead to Flaming Jim with 1600 metres to run. Flaming Jim was then attacked by hotshot Justasec which eventually made the lead with a lap to run. Chuckles That battle certainly played into Chuckles hands as the trailing horse. With 800 metres to run Barclay pulled Chuckles out from three back on the inside but her progress was halted as he locked wheels with Flaming Jim. However she got going again and at the 400 metres Barclay was dishing it up to Justasec. On straightening Chuckles proved too tough for Justasec, winning by three and a half lengths. Another easy winner for Kirstin Barclay and Tank Ellis - Chuckles The Sun shining bright on Chuckles completing a great day for owner Tom Kilkelly Earlier in the day the Barclay/Ellis stable scored an upset win in the Williamson Racing Stables Handicap Trot when Wee Man Trouble beat higher assessed horses. With 400 metres to run driver Blair Orange could see that some of the back markers had a bit of ground to make up on the leader De Vito so he popped out of the trailing position and pinched a five length break on the bulk of the field. Wee Man Trouble It proved to be the winning of the race. Wee Man Trouble held on to beat a late charging War Admiral by a length. The win elevates Wee Man Trouble to seventh on the leader board for the $125,000 Harness Jewels Four Year Old Ruby. Wee Man Trouble The stable’s other winner was Paddyproudfoot. Driver Kirstin Barclay once again used her horse’s gate speed and from barrier six the Washington VC gelding was taken straight to the top. With a lap to run she handed up to the second favourite Pitch Perfect. Paddyproudfoot On straightening for the run home Pitch Perfect got away by two lengths but Paddyproudfoot came resolutely down the middle of the track to win by a length and a quarter. Paddyproudfoot Meanwhile other winners on the day included Full Noise which wore down a brave Neverneverland in the Invercargill Workouts Committee Handicap Trot. The win puts the Majestic Son gelding in the top twelve in the Harness Jewels Three Year Old Ruby. Full Noise Rangiora trainer Mitchell Kerr brought the majority of his team south but walked away with only one win. It came in race two with Change Is Good which was driven by Nathan Williamson. Change Is Good Nathan Williamson got the perfect sit behind pacemaker Bridesdale Robyn in the Foveaux Communication Fillies and Mares Mobile Pace. At the top of the straight he got the passing lane run to win by a length and a quarter. Vintage Cheddar scored a well-deserved win in the Regent Car Court Southern Country Cups Handicap Pace. Driver Brad Williamson tucked the four year old in behind leader Santanna’s Rocket which took him to the passing lane. Vintage Cheddar which is owned by Lindsay and Ian Thomson and trained by Alister Black made full use of the lane to beat Smokin By by a length and three quarters. Vintage Cheddar By Bruce Stewart

Sekkie Monkey upset a strong field of maiden trotters at Ascot Park today. The four year old daughter of Monkey Bones was the sixth favourite in a race that was expected to be dominated by well bred Jaccka Jeorge and Liberty Stride. “That was a good maiden field and I wasn’t sure how we would go. But she went well,” said trainer driver Nathan Williamson. Both Liberty Stride and Jaccka Jeorge broke with Jaccka Jeorge losing all chance. Liberty Stride made ground late for fourth. All the honours went to Sekkie Monkey which led early before handing up to Cuchulainn. “She’s just a bit lazy in front so I was quite happy to hand up. She was pretty strong at the finish. I was pretty happy with her. She’s just getting used to the tighter circuits.” At the top of the straight Williamson pushed Sekkie Monkey up the passing lane and she trotted home nicely to beat Cuchulainn by three quarters of a length.   Sekkie Monkey on the inside gets the winning call - Photo Bruce Stewart. The four year old was initially prepared for racing at Waikouaiti Beach by Amber Hoffman. She was sent to Williamson in December. The Branxholme trainer qualified her at Gore in February. “We had to put a lot of miles into her just to get her trotting solid but she’s pretty solid now. I don’t think she’s made a break off the place.” Sekkie Monkey is out of the Sundon mare Sekkie and is owned by Kevin Strong. “I was on the lookout for a Sundon mare after I lost one. She was advertised by Michael House in foal to Monarchy. That horse was no good so I put her in foal to Monkey Bones and that’s turned up trumps,” Strong said. Sekkie is no longer alive but Strong does have a three year old by Superfast Stuart named Super Sekkie out of the mare. Sekkie is a half-sister to Avatar (7 NZ and 5 AUS wins) and What Ever You Like (7 NZ and 16 AUS wins). “I’ve had a few horses over the years but never a good one by myself. The best one I raced with Neville Cleaver was Hopes And Dreams.” Strong and Cleaver are currently breeding from Sunrise Delight but unfortunately her first two foals have died. Currently they have two fillies out of the mare by Repeat Love and Peak. Nathan Williamson, Sekkie Monkey, Kevin Strong, Invercargill President Barry McCulloch and Trevor Little - Photo Bruce Stewart. Strong’s horses are now managed by former Gore trainer Trevor Little. “I’m retired and I thought I was out of it. Kevin had thirty odd horses. We’ve just worked our way through them. We’ve leased a few and kept a few of the trotters. We’re still breeding from Sunrise Delight (Sundon – Little Miss Watch) and Easy Option (Great Success – Sunrise Girl). ” Little trained Fakes Dream to win for Strong and Cleaver at Invercargill in February 2005.   Bruce Stewart  

Sportswriter gelding Hampton had a bit to live up to. Until today, his Christian Cullen dam Baptism Of Fire had left six winners from eight foals of racing age including Highview Tommy (17 wins and $1,021,904) Highview Chartom, Highview Teejay and Highview Freddy; all five win horses. “Everything out of that mare has won races with the worst winning four. So he (Hampton) should be able to get another couple of wins at least. This horse will be better in twelve months,” said Kirstin Barclay who co-trains the gelding with Paul ‘Tank’ Ellis. Driver Blair Orange settled the Hampton at the back of the main bunch before getting on the back of Mark O’Ronga to move forward with a lap to run. At the 800 metres Orange had Hampton parked outside leader The Interceptor. At the top of the straight Hampton had hit the front and he went down to the finish two and a half lengths clear of the second horse Bettor Rock Again. Hampton was bought by Wayne McEwan principal of McEwan Bloodstock, at the 2017 Christchurch Sale for $20,000. “It’s taken a while for him to get his confidence. He’s got a lot of high speed. We knew he would do a good job once he got going.” Today was only the gelding’s fifth start. Barclay says his confidence was knocked after his first start. “It was driver error first start. He got knocked over at the start and I then let him loose around the field and it just blew him over. It was too much for him and it’s knocked his confidence. It’s taken him a wee while to come back.” Orange was wearing a black arm band in today’s race to acknowledge the passing of Rewa Burns yesterday. Rewa was the wife of long time Secretary of Southland Trotting Clubs Peter Burns. Kirsten Barclay said “She and Peter were such an integral part of Southland Harness racing. They were like the power couple back in the day. They lived in the cottage across from the stable. Sometimes I’d get home from the races really late at night but she’d always come out to say well done.” Rewa raced cup class pacer Haughty Romeo back in the late seventies and early eighties. He won nine races, eight for Maurice Skinner and one for her son Tim. Meanwhile the Barclay/Ellis stable’s star pacer U May Cullect looks set to reappear at Ascot Park on Saturday. The Gotta Go Cullect five year old is unbeaten in only three starts and will line up on Diamonds Day in what will be his last start of the season. “It’s just amazing how he handled the trip (to Addington). He hadn’t been further than Winton and he went up to Canterbury, ate up, raced under the lights for the first time, won, and came back to his paddock and ate up.” Barclay says it doesn’t take too much to keep the quality gelding ticking over and race fit. “Tank spends a lot of time walking him and we space his races. We do a lot of slow long work, endurance work with him, so he’s always fit without sprinting.”   Bruce Stewart  

The drive by Brad Williamson set up the win for talented trotter Majestic Man in the Group Three Southern Lights at Ascot Park today (Saturday). When fthe avourite Kings Landing made the lead, his driver Tim Williams put the brakes on and Williamson was having none of that. With 2000 metres to run, in the lightning move, he shot Majestic Man forward and challenged the leader. “To be honest he’s a bit more of a speed horse but when Tim got to the front he backed off the tempo. I couldn’t allow that to happen. We had to get in a positive position,” he said. With 1400 metres to run Williamson was on top with the Majestic Son four year old and at the finish had half a neck to spare on Kings Landing which ran home up the passing lane. Williamson says there was confidence around the stable that the four year old would perform well despite  having been away from racing for 65 days. He trialled at Oamaru last Saturday winning his heat by six lengths. “He trialled exceptional. If you’d seen it you would have thought he was in with a very good show. He got home in 27 seconds and change, and was hard held. We had a lot of confidence that he was fit and ready.” It was a super effort by his trainer Phil Williamson to get Majestic Man ready. And it was a bit of a case of revenge as Kings Landing had beaten Majestic Man on Show Day at Addington. “A similar thing happened on Show Day. The speed wasn’t overly hot. Mark (Purdon) was up parked and he sprinted home and beat me. Today was the opposite.” The win was Majestic Man’s eighth in only nineteen starts. Back to the birdcage after win number eight - Photo Bruce Stewart. “We thought a bit of him as a young horse and he won the Two Year Old Sires Stakes Final but weakened right off quite badly after the run. He’s strengthening up and with hard racing he's got better as he’s got older. He’s still got to step up to the open graders yet.” The Jewels is well and truly on Majestic Man’s radar and another target is also possible.       “The Rowe Cup's been mentioned if he’s going good enough.” Majestic Man is raced by the Griffin Syndicate. Winning connections and sponsor - Photo Bruce Stewart  It was the fourth time Phil Williamson has won the Southern Lights. His previous winners were; Mystic Son (2009), Springbank Sam (2013) and Monty Python (2017). He brought his team south early this week, starting two well-bred two year old trotters Cracker Hill and Ultimate Stride at the Winton Workouts on Friday. Cracker Hill is a Muscle Hill – Juneamy Castleton gelding which is trained by Brad. It  beat Ultimate Stride, a Love You colt out of the millionaire trotter One Over Kenny. The winning margin was a nose but both horses we’re extended. Cracker Hill (8) just gets there from Ultimate Stride at the Winton Workouts - Photo Bruce Stewart Ultimate Stride was sold by Lex and Heather Williams of One Over Lodge in Waimate for $160,000 at the 2018 National Sales in Christchurch. He was bought by Australian’s Emilio and Mary Rosati and left with Williamson. Cracker Hill, which was also bred by the Williams, was passed in for $40,000 at the same sale.  Another impressive trotter that had a win on Friday was the Brent McIntyre trained Cuchulainn: a full-brother to the quality trotter Pickett’s Ridge the winner of four of his ten starts. Both are by Skyvalley out the Sundon mare Come Follow Me. Meanwhile Nathan Williamson’s classy trotter Chinese Whisper is staying put for the time being. He was under offer during the week but the deal fell through and he’s expected to have his next start in the province at Wyndham on Saturday.   Bruce Stewart

The Robert Dunn filly Spellbound continued on her winning way yesterday in the Caduceus Club of Southland/Alabar Fillies Classic but she was pressured at the finish by first starter Stylish Memphis. Spellbound lead from the start and was allowed to get away with some soft sectionals. Stylish Memphis, a half-sister to the 2016 winner Delightful Memphis, got within a head of the winner but the post came up just in time for Spellbound. “That horse (Stylish Memphis) had trialled well so it wasn’t a surprise. It was a stroll around and a sprint up the straight. Halfway down the straight I was confident. The last wee bit I wasn’t” said driver John Dunn whose father Robert trains Spellbound. She was sold at the 2018 Sale of the Stars for $17,000 as Major Return, but was renamed Spellbound. The the Witches Of Westview Syndicate share in the ownership of the Art Major filly with the Westview Racing Number 19 Syndicate.The syndicates have some Southlanders as members, including Bruce Sutherland, local breeder Mark O’Connor; his brother Stephen O’Connor, Mike Pero Real Estate Agent Daryl Spence and the Manager of McCallum’s Dry Cleaning Paul Harrington. The winning syndicating watching her come into the birdcage - Photo Bruce Stewart. The official group photo - Photo Bruce Stewart    She’s out of the Armbro Operative mare Return To Gold which won four races and it's the filly’s third win in as many starts. It was the second time father and son have won this race. Yankee Dream won the classic in 2009. “Right from day dot she showed a bit. She’s well gaited and has good manners and that’s why we’ve had a go at these early two year old races. She’ll have a wee break now and we’ll look at a Sires Stakes Heat.” Dunn’s second win came in the $40,000 Yaldhurst Hotel Northern Southland Cup with Henry Hubert. After bungling the start Henry Hubert finally settled into his gait with only favourite Funatthebeach behind him. Royal Bengal lead early before Smokin By took over. Alta Maestro was then taken to the front ensuring there was plenty of early pace in the 2700 metre feature. Smokin By then popped out of the trail and took up the running again with 1600 metres to go. With a lap to run the one off line started to form lead by Tact Maggie, Eamon Maguire, AG’s White Socks and Henry Hubert got onto the train. Funathebeach took up the inside running line. With 600 metres to run Henry Hubert was last and nothing in front was wanting to move. So in what turned out to be the winning of the race Dunn let Henry Hubert run and he showed sharp speed to move within striking distance of a battling Smokin By and Tact Maggie. Dunn pinched a bit of a break at the top of the straight and held on to win. In a driving finish Henry Hubert and John Dunn on the inside hang on to beat Ricky May and A G's White Socks - Photo Bruce Stewart.  “I couldn’t really get him going early in the race after missing away so I had to wait for the 600. He felt super once he got pacing and to hold off A G’s White Socks was a good effort,” he said. A G’s White Socks got within a head of Henry Hubert with Funatthebeach a further three and a quarter lengths back in third. Dunn says the horse will go home now and head towards the Easter Cup. “We just have to get that standing start ironed out. We’re also looking at perhaps the Taylor Mile and The Messenger then the Jewels.” The winning time was 3-20.6, 0.5 outside the race record held by Isaiah. The win was the four year old's fourth this season and puts him in the top five for the end of season Harness Jewels.   Bruce Stewart

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